Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Interview with Jennieke Cohen for Dangerous Alliance

Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

by Jennieke Cohen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 3rd 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Fiction
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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

Can you briefly describe DANGEROUS ALLIANCE and its characters? 

DANGEROUS ALLIANCE centers on Victoria Aston, a 19th century girl who loves Jane Austen’s novels so much, she believes life should turn out exactly like an Austen novel. But then Vicky's older sister and role model, Althea, escapes her abusive husband and starts divorce proceedings. To keep their family home safe from her brother-in-law, Vicky has to enter London’s society and find a husband of her own. She soon finds the charming Mr. Carmichael to be her best prospect, but as strange accidents start befalling Vicky and her family, and her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, starts expressing his doubts about Mr. Carmichael’s intentions, Vicky starts to realize her own life might be much more complicated than the books she loves. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

Can I say all of them, because (other than the bad guys) that’s pretty much true?! I will say that the characters who were always the most fun to write were Vicky and Tom’s brother Charles. Charles’s morals are greyer than some of the others and his sense of humor is snarkier, so it was always entertaining finding amusing yet annoying things for him to do and say. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

As a young girl, I fell in love with classics by Austen, the Brontës, Alcott, and Montgomery. I was always one for a great romantic plot and my interest in history led me to reading a lot of historical romance when I was in college. I came up with the first idea for DANGEROUS ALLIANCE right around that time. I’ve also always really enjoyed action/adventure and mystery stories and films. So as I started writing and plotting DANGEROUS ALLIANCE, I decided to write an homage to Austen and all the female authors I love while infusing some of those adventure and mystery tropes into a slightly genre-bending story that I would have enjoyed as a teen. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

I don’t know if any one song could describe my book, but one I know makes me think of DANGEROUS ALLIANCE is All for Love by Bryan Adams. 

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

I feel like DANGEROUS ALLIANCE is very much a tea time book. Sitting in front of a roaring fire with your tea of choice and a slice of cake or a scone with clotted cream and jam would be a perfect accompaniment! 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish DANGEROUS ALLIANCE? 

Absolutely! I would of course say any of Jane Austen’s novels, though I do think PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is perfect for anyone who hasn’t read Austen before. NORTHANGER ABBEY is also great for anyone looking for something shorter, and its plot is basically the reverse of what I did in DANGEROUS ALLIANCE. If anyone’s looking for another YA historical, THE LAST WORD by Samantha Hastings has a very similar feel and aesthetic to DANGEROUS ALLIANCE. 

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book? 

For me the hardest part is always sitting in that chair and getting the words down. It’s especially hard when you have no outside deadlines. I tend to do everything else (brainstorming, research, plotting) in an effort to avoid looking at that blank screen. 

What’s next for you?

I’m working on more historical young adult books—this time with a speculative element—but there’s nothing I can discuss in detail yet unfortunately!

Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kah CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke writes historical fiction for young adults inspired by real people and events because life is often stranger than fiction. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Jennieke loves exploring new locales but always returns home to Northern California where the summers are hot, the winters are mild, and life is casual.


  1. I definitely think Jane Austen could help one navigate life's shoals!

  2. I think this premise is very unique and I love the ties to literature and promised mystery.